tv [untitled] October 4, 2012 5:00pm-5:30pm PDT
is appropriate because it deals with housing stock. this home was built in the 1890s, it was a stick style victorian home with two floors, appropriate size for families, as with most construction of victorians away from the immediate downtown area because people wisely knew that if they had large families they needed more space than they would have on the one floor with it 25 foot frontage allowed; when they did built these they built them with enough room for bedrooms and other features on the upper floor. other thing that i found was very interesting; i don't know if the project sponsor brought this up or not but in his report, some of the building habits are
not as good and fires can start. people do want their own space. that is important. what happened after the earthquake was there was appropriate densification; there are a lot of parallels with the growth of the business community and the need of housing. there was a belief that they would be a large building of office space in downtown is there was. there were lots of apartment buildings built appropriately with appropriate sizes, appropriate densification, and a lot of the tories were chopped up into smaller units, which i feel is inappropriate. they don't address family needs; we should err on the side of
allowing -- especially if it was like that originally. the other point brought up is project sponsor, in reality if this was to be split it would cost 400,000 to 600,000 to split. undoubtedly, there will be broken into expensive condos. i visited the area the other day to look around; i cannot say for sure whether or not staff is correct with the predominance of single-family units as opposed to what project sponsor and counsel represent. i believe the latter is correct; the number of people who own victorians in that area all of them
are single-family victorians; i would think the reality of the case -- whether it is 3r reports or tax base, the case is made that there is over 50 percent of single-family in the area; that is one criteria which makes it 3 criteria. fourth criteria is function. we have a situation where someone wants to convert what is legally two units by making connections between them, eliminating kitchens, turning into a single-family unit; it has been a single unit since 1990; it meets our needs very well for people who want to stay in san francisco and have the need to have enough space for families. i don't feel it is functionally able to be
a two unit building without the injection of much cash, building of a second ingress and egress, separation of halls, addition of the kitchen, it is not appropriate to ask these people to do these things. we should allow them to legalize the merger and welcome them to the city and we hope that they will be permanent residents. >> commissioner -- >> i want to ask, there seems to be a discrepancy about information of the planning counter, there is ways for counting item 3, sandborn maps. can you talk about the guidance? if there is one standard of practice, for what we tell people.
one the property information that; we use property information database. on the property information database is the 3r tab; that's the way i was trained, that's the way i've always done it. >> i don't care what the standard is; i want to make sure it is a consistent standard. it is important. we can agree or disagree. whatever the standard is that we have. >> the lesson here -- it is not, it would not surprise me if there were not inconsistent information going out.
erin did the most legally defensible way. in the past mailbox have been counted. >> i wonder if there is something -- in the past when we have conversions offices, people illegally converted to office spaces and we have whole legalization process, we discussed the issue around they can units in the city, some of which families own -- other reasons might be that current zoning is out of conformity. it makes me think whether or not we have ever talked about
doing something similar where we said, okay, for the three-month period, if you're building was already converted, you can show that you are not the property owner when the building was converted, and it's been 20 years or more, you have three months to legalize your building. there is a real issue throughout the city that we are not able to capture with buildings that have been converted without the benefit of permits, particularly housing units. we don't know that information. it may be another reason why people keep units off the market; if there were a way for people to legalize illegal units and for us to get a handle on those, and i am not saying i know the answer ray, you could not have done it yourself,
it had to be a certain amount of time ago, whatever, this project sponsor did not change the building to be in the state that it is. it is not then affordable housing, or rent control housing for at least 20 years, who knows how long ago. from the loss of the housing stock, we lost this to you property my mind 20 years ago. i think that we talked about having families is housing, people from other neighborhoods arguing. we don't know what the right size is for family housing. at the same time we have something that has been used
as a single-family home for quite some time. and it actually would be -- it's already been converted not because of this project sponsor or i would feel differently, i don't know if there is a greater benefit to the city to convert it back particularly if a two unit were condolized and it would not be affordable housing. in this case is a rationale to look in the other direction. >> initial moore. >> i like to pick up on the common of consistency. it is an extreme responsibility for us to look at the many applications it gets in all forms and packages.
the one thing i notice in the supplication, it is inconsistent with what we relatively regularly look at, existing condition. the building as currently used and built is the one thing we look at in order to get a handle on its current use, and the usability of the units before, during and after unit merger. there is no information on the size of the building, two floors individually and together which is a major omission to even talk about livability and comparable which we often look at how far we -- when someone wants to merge
various buildings into one. using the criteria by which we need to look at unit mergers, the common denominator which we agreed on. however that particular project has as i recall the existing condition as part of the middle; this project [indiscernible] only talks about the dream layout, i asked that we continue this project and look at it for that particular information to compare apples to apples. it would be less, easier for us to determine what it really it is that we are merging and reconsider doing that. i'm not opposed to consider it. am not prepared to consider it based on what is in front of me. >> commissioner antonini.
>> i'm confused here. i am looking at the plants. we are looking at what exists now. it was merge many years ago. what was presented as existing. >> your plan shows square footage, 2600 and 1300 on each floor. >> that is consistent with what i saw. and i'm looking at plants which are the existing plans since it was merged. i don't feel it is a project sponsors responsibility to go back and find a plan that would mirror what was there before 1989. >> but we looked. >> i don't know that we need to see what it looked like. there is some confusion. what we have an existing family home. >> what they want to do is to make that it's legal state. it is an unusual burden.
i don't support continuance to have the project sponsor to create a scenario where he would be divided into two units. >> i don't mean to cast dispersion to the planning counter. we presented three cases in one it did not in the last two years to your staff which they approved and i'm showing you the language where they were shown, sandoborn in one case and mailbox in the other. >> a couple of other comments. the discretionary review is a sensitive discretion to be used only for unusual and extraordinary circumstances, court cases from 1954 verify this. i have seen many of these unit mergers and this is the most justified legalization of have seen in 10 years. we should not take 3r unless it
is clear that it is an unusual, extraordinary situation. if it is the developer coming in to combine four units to make one huge home for purposes of the sale or something like that, i can certainly see that but that is not the case here. we also received support from the neighborhood supervisor; this is a discretionary review, if it were appeal, it is not something that he would be able to opine on so we appreciate him giving his opinion now. there's been a long-term vacancy because of the state of limbo this is in, and the fact that financing was not available for any sort of possible separation from what was legally the case or any other kind of further improvements because the banks would not loan when you had the strange situation of one thing in existence;
another thing in the books. i am in favor of not taking dr and approving. i will make a motion. >> >> one question to the project sponsor. you currently own this property, is that correct? >> yes or that is correct. >> so you are able to obtain financing despite the fact that the record, the official record may have said that this was a two unit building when it wasn't. >> yes it is unusual. the previous owner provided me a short-term note, that allowed me to become the owner; it is a temporary, four year note; if i don't rectify this i will have to sell it. fannie mae, freddie mac will
not loan on this anymore. >> thank you. >> that leads into, well, i have another question. it is worse situation where the financing has been done and you are legally the owner for ever and ever, my next question is going to be the staff. what difference does it make whether it is legal or not legal? to the city. >> if he had not brought it in, and had financing. he could've done whatever. the building department. i'm talking about additional work.
if it looks a little funky, he wants to do improvements, goes to the billing department; the billing department says, oh well, this is supposed to be a two unit building. >> if you came in for a permit and it showed one kitchen, the planning department would say you're supposed to have two, and would make him go through this process. >> the nail on the head. this property would appear to be in violation of planning code today and its application, should be approved would take the project down one path the remedy that violation. there is a problem with the condition of the property vis a vis the planning code.
>> where is the kitchen? that's all i have to say. >> i am supportive of the motion for the reasons. i don't necessarily think we should be doing a lot of these, but there are unique circumstances. if someone wanted to buy a building like this, and do this research, the point of the project sponsor made about -- is prohibitive. 3r seems to be a good legal
measure, but tough to figure out. >> they can go to the planning information counter and look at the parcel information database. >> that has the same 3r tab. >> to an earlier point about the whole issue of unit mergers and the fact that we talked a little bit more about this, it is probably not large enough as many people set forth. while commissioner -- brought that what it was before was not a factor, i would argue strongly against it. the way the house was originally built, especially with victorian, with historical import is an important fact we should consider. there was a question but you did
the research to the conversion was done in 1913. i heard a couple of reports that it was done later. >> it was a one-family dwelling and then two -family, early on in the last of the building. >> i will not ask for a continuance; it is more legible but we are looking at the proposed use of the building. my question to mr. -- is, where is the permit for the second kitchen? when was it done? if it was used as a two unit building, the upstairs would've had to have the kitchen, which is not there anymore. what happened here? >> the unit as we understand from the project sponsor at some point
in the late eighties that kitchen was taken out. we don't know where it was. it was done without the benefit of the permit. the building department records are not complete when you go back more than 50 years; you probably don't get plans; they just signed a piece of paper not necessarily require plans. the record is not very good for that. >> i feel very torn; this is obviously on public television sets the way how potentially other people could circumvent what the code in the process requires and i feel that in front of those two who were not familiar with it total background including when the secondary loan is being offered to you in order that you work it out. there is a lack of disclosure.
i am implying that there was a lack of disclosure to them because we could sit here and deny the project, and they would be a very tough decision. i will leave it up of his corner here, on how the vote goes. >> i appreciate the project sponsors diligence and the situation that they are in. i find it hard to support unit mergers as a policy for the city. that is where it sits now. >> i want to point out for the benefit, most of the commissioners are familiar with this; i'm sure this is the case that because it is a mandatory unit merger, project sponsors were obliged to pay $3500 for the merger. any mr. stark katana what it is.
other drs pale. we make it difficult for people. i commend the project sponsors for bringing this forward; there is a financing problem coming up in four years. we appreciate you taking and doing the right thing and stepping out and paying the fee going through this process, making it legal. i appreciate that. >> i wish we had a ability to ask the original owner and stand here and take a stand why he did it the way he did. the need of them having a child, and needing financing is basically the reason why they are in front of us. they could operate -- that the previous owner could give them full financing for the last the project.
an untenable situation. we should send a strong message but that is not acceptable. >> i agree with that, i don't know what we could do but we have a lot of units; as many as 20,000 units out of compliance. i wish i could figure out a way to get a handle of those. we don't know how many units we have to work with. as a policy consideration, i would love to have a hearing, and a conversation on this topic, to figure out how to encourage people to bring units to confirmity to what they were supposed to be. it is a challenge. this project sponsor had nothing to do with emerging this unit; this was merged 20 years ago. this project needs to be resolved. otherwise, the benefit to the city and a personal view
and not approving this project is you probably have a building that sits vacant for many more years. if the person who has the building now can't afford to invest the money and create two units they won't find -- unless someone is independently wealthy. would rather have this family or have a vacant? we are not in a situation where we can do this. unfortunately that is the case here. >> commissioners, motion on the floor as to approve the project as proposed
by the project sponsor. on that motion. (voting) motion passes, 5-2, commissioners moore and wu voting against. >> general public comment? i would like to close the meeting in memory of a gentleman named frank -- property owner at fisherman's wharf, our neighbor next door for the wax museum for three generations. his father and my grandfather spent lunches together,